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Professional Learning

Fishy Features

Posted on: May 6, 2014

Group of tropical fishIt’s Term 2 already and we’re ready to deliver our next Professional Learning session! 

This terms session is showcasing the Department of Fisheries activity ‘Fishy Features’. Aimed at Year 5 – 12 teachers (and pre-service teachers), this session focuses on adaptations of fish. Come and learn about the functional, behavioural and structural adaptations that organisms in the marine environment exhibit to survive. We’ll be getting up close and personal with a variety of species of fish to study the differences in their structural adaptations. 

We’ll also talk about how you could use this activity at school and look at some pre- and post- excursion resources. This session includes a range of hands-on and fun learning activities, take-away hard copy resources and a certificate of attendance.

Where: Western Australian Fisheries and Marine Research Laboratories
39 Northside Drive, Hillarys WA 6025

Date:   Thursday 15 May, 2014 (Week 3 Term 2)

Time:   4.00 pm – 5.30 pm
Registration from 3.45 pm

Registrations are essential. To book your place at this PL, please click here.

To find out more about our upcoming Professional Learning sessions, click here.

Australian Curriculum Outcomes: ACSSU043, ACSSU094, ACSSU111, ACSSU150, ACSSU175

Professional Learning in 2014

Posted on: January 3, 2014

Scientific-sandcastlesHappy New Year!  We hope you’re having a good break and are starting to think about new and exciting learning experiences for your class.

We know that many primary school teachers choose themes each term and a popular term 1 theme is the sea. With this in mind, our first Professional Learning session for 2014 is aimed at Kindergarten to Year 6 teachers and to get you inspired, we will be visiting the beach (hats and appropriate footwear are recommended!) 

In this session, we will discuss the Department of Fisheries activity Scientific Sandcastles – the logistics of how we get your class to the beach and what actually takes place in the activity. We’ll also talk about how you could use this activity at school, in the sandpit and look at some pre- and post- excursion resources also.

This session will take place on Thursday 20th February 2014 from 4.00pm – 5.30pm at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre – 39 Northside Drive, Hillarys. To book your place at this PL, click here.   

Something else also to keep in mind in term 1 is Seaweek, which runs from 1st – 9th March 2014. Seaweek is the Marine Education Society of Australasia’s major national public awareness campaign. To get you all ready to teach marine education in your classroom, we’re offering to come to your school during February and conduct a free professional learning session with your staff!

(The fine print – A minimum number of 10 participants is required for the Department of Fisheries to come to your school to run a free professional learning session. This offer is currently only open to Perth, WA, metropolitan schools. Session duration is 60 minutes and can be run after school hours. Places are limited and will be offered on a first come, first served basis.)

To express your interest in having a Department of Fisheries Community and Education team member come to your school to run a professional learning session, click here.

Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre Professional Learning

Posted on: October 17, 2013

NMDC-touchpoolIt’s the end of the year and you are probably all looking toward report writing and classroom clean-ups, however you may still have an end of year excursion to attend (or are still trying to plan one).  Come along to our last FREE professional learning session of 2013 to find out about excursions at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre (NMDC). 

Aimed at primary teachers (and pre-service teachers), this session will detail how a primary school visit to the NMDC runs.  View all of our teaching spaces, find out where you can have lunch, and how we deal with large groups.  This session is particularly useful for teachers planning to bring large groups of students to find out how our rotations and concurrent activities work.

This session, as always, includes a range of hands-on and fun learning activities, take-away hard copy resources and a certificate of attendance. 

This session takes place on Thursday 31st October at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre, 39 Northside Drive, Hillarys, WA.  Registration is from 3.45pm and the session will finish up by 5.30 pm.

Want to come along? Email your intention to attend to

If you are still trying to plan an end of year excursion, you’ll be thrilled to know that we do still have a few dates available at the NMDC.  Contact the education team on 9203 0112 to make a booking.    

Free Professional Learning Session

Posted on: February 8, 2013

Plankton collector net in Shark Bay.

Plankton collector net in Shark Bay.

Welcome back to term 1.  We hope you all had an enjoyable break and have returned to school feeling fresh and ready to implement some new ideas.  This year we hope to inspire you with some great new ideas in our professional learning sessions.  Our first session kicks off on Thursday 21st February at 3.45pm at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre.

In this session we’ll be covering the excursion activity Science of Sampling.  In this activity, students learn about a range of sampling techniques used by Department of Fisheries research scientists to collect information about various fisheries in Western Australia.

Follow this activity up in the classroom with the Marine WATERs Lesson Plans: How Many Fish in the Sea? and Manage a Fishery.  Learn how managing a jaffafish fishery relates to managing fisheries in the real world.

As always, light refreshments will be served at 3.45pm and hard copy resources will be provided on the day also.

To register your interest in this professional learning session, click here.

To find out about our future planned sessions this year, click here.

If you’re finding the day or time prohibitive to attending, remember you can pull together a group of 10 or more teachers and we will come to your school and complete a professional learning session with you, and it’s still free!  To organise a Professional Learning session at your school, send us an email.


Last Professional Learning Opportunity this year!

Posted on: October 29, 2012

Fishing for sustainability activity.

Our last Marine WATERs – Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre Professional Learning session is happening next Thursday, 1st November 2012 from 4.00pm – 6.00pm.  The theme is this terms session is human impacts and fisheries management.

Try out our school friendly version of fishing (no hooks or water required!) in our Fishing for Sustainability activity.  We’ll also be delving into the Marine WATERs Lesson Plans: Fishing for the Future, Hook, Line and Sinker, Planning a Safe Fishing Trip and Manage a Fishery.

Aimed at teachers of Year 2 – 10 students, this session will involve hands on activity sessions and take away resources.  

To register your interest in this session, click here.

The Bare Bones Professional Learning

Posted on: July 27, 2012

Fish dissection cut below and parallel to the lateral line up to the gill cover.

Have you been on an excursion to the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre? Come along to our FREE Professional Learning session on Thursday 9 August to find out about the excursion opportunities available to you, and how they can be complemented with resources from Marine WATERs.

Suitable for Year 6-12 teachers, this session will focus on Fisheries Science. Try your hand at a fish dissection, learn what an otolith is and how to ‘read’ one too.

If you haven’t used Marine WATERs yet, or don’t know where to start, we’ll give you a crash course in navigating your way around the site. We’ll also look at both pre-excursion and post excursion resources including Designer Fish and What’s My Age Again?, so you can carry on your fisheries science studies in the classroom. This session does include take-away hard copy resources.

To register your interest in this Professional Learning session, please contact Aleesha Meuleners on 9203 0341 or email

Where: Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre, 39 Northside Drive, Hillarys WA 6025

Date: Thursday 9 August 2012 (Week 3 Term 3)

Time: 4.00 pm – 6.00 pm.  Registration from 3.45 pm.

Classifying in the Classroom

Posted on: May 11, 2012

The first of the combined Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre (NMDC) and Marine WATERs Professional Learning sessions kicked off last night with a focus on classifying marine organisms.  Our keen participants got their hands dirty (or at least sandy) as they carried out the simple sorting exercise with a bucket of beach ‘stuff’, just as their students would on an excursion to the NMDC.

The It’s Classified! Lesson Plan is a great introduction to classifying.  Classification in the scientific world is used for the scientific naming, identifying and describing of individuals, and determining relationships between groups and their evolutionary links.  Scientists classify organisms to genus and species level, which then become the scientific name of the organism.  This name is written in italics. 

In Activity 1, students begin by attempting to classify everyone in the class.  All students are obviously of the same genus and species, but the idea behind the activity is to get students to think about the characteristics that make them different to everyone else.  Engage your students in a discussion about what characteristics would be useful, and those that wouldn’t be so useful.  E.g. short sleeves and long sleeves are likely to change on a daily basis and therefore wouldn’t be very useful.

Appendix 2 of the lesson plan provides you with a playing card template of a variety of different marine organisms.  Each card has the phylum that the organism belongs to listed at the top.  As a challenge for your students, when you make your set of cards, why not cut that label off? Provide students with the photo cards and ask them to group the organisms by what they can see from the picture or from what they have already learnt about that phyla.

The Perth Beachcomber’s Education Kit also has some great resources for classification.  You can also book an excursion to the NMDC and participate in our classifying activity, Bringing the Beach to You.

FREE Professional Learning Opportunities

Posted on: May 4, 2012

Bringing the beach to you activity.

New to Marine WATERs, or just need a bit of guidance as to where to start?  We have free Professional Learning opportunities in a variety of locations around the state this month!

The first of these sessions is Thursday, 10 May at the Naturaliste Marine Discovery Centre (NMDC) from 4.00pm – 6.00pm.  This session is the first of an ongoing series that will explore a specific NMDC excursion activity in detail, and the Marine WATERs resources that can be used pre- and post-excursion.  This session will explore our marine classification activities and a variety of lesson plans from Marine WATERs including I’ve Got the Key and Designer Fish.  To register for this session, contact Aleesha Meuleners – or 9203 0341.

On Saturday 26 May, we will be presenting at CONSTAWA, the annual conference of the Science Teacher’s Association of Western Australia.  In this session, participants will have the opportunity to try a range of hands on Marine WATERs activities, experience a Department of Fisheries incursion/excursion activity and discover the resources available in Marine WATERs to supplement this activity.

If you are in Esperance, the Department’s Marine Education Officers from Albany will be conducting an Introduction to Marine WATERs session at Lotteries House from 4.00 pm – 5.00 pm.  To register for this session, contact Kylie Outhwaite or Tahryn Thompson – or 9845 7400.

Lastly, we head north to Broome.  On Thursday 31 May we’ll be presenting an Introduction to Marine WATERs at the Department of Fisheries office from 3.15 pm – 4.45 pm.  To register for this session, contact Kara Dew – or 9193 8600.

These introductory sessions will include:

  • How to find resources on Marine WATERs,
  • Information about local fisheries education programs,
  • Opportunities to try some of the activities “hands on” and
  • An opportunity to take away hard copy resources.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our sessions soon! Follow us on Facebook Fisheries Division Woodside Energy